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Showing posts from December, 2015

New Year's Day Tradition

Southerners enjoy a New Year's Day tradition of eating Black-Eyed Peas and Greens.  The "peas" are for good luck and the greens are for prosperity.  I will be perfectly honest and say that I am not a fan of either and have found a wonderful way to disguise the Black-Eyed Peas in my Aunt Nita's salsa recipe. 




Aunt Nita's Salsa Recipe
One can Black-eyed Peas, drainedOne can Black Beans, drained2 Cans White Corn, drained2 cans Yellow Corn, drained1 can Mexican Style Tomatoes- DO NOT DRAIN! 2 bunches green scallions, thinly sliced2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and dicedDash of favorite hot sauce
In large mixing bowl mix tomatoes, peppers, onion and hot sauce.  Fold in drained vegetables and mix well.  This recipe is better is even better the second day!   Keep refrigerated. 
This is an excellent recipe for any time during the year. It is also very flexible.  My aunt brought me some salsa Thanksgiving and made it with chickpeas (AKA Garbanzo Beans) instead of the Black-eyed P…

Happy New Year! A Tablescape and Non-Resolutions

I am not one for resolutions- they never last (at least not for me) and I feel like they kind of set us up for failure as we begin a new year.  But I do make plans and set goals for myself for the coming year. Phrasing it that way seems to work a little better for me.  Why am I bringing this up?  Well one of my plans affects this blog.  I want to find more joy- more reasons and ways to celebrate the blessings that I have.   And I plan to share these celebrations- great and small with you. 


I begin with today- New Year's Eve 2015.  What better way to toast the dawn of 2016 than with a golden champagne flute!  I "glittered" these glasses following the instructions I posted here.  This morning I learned that there is an easier way.  Stay tuned!  There will be plenty more occasions to glitter in 2016 and I will share a new technique with you then. 

Another plan that I have involves my dining room.  



I set my New Year's Eve table there. It is very simple and perfect for our …

Survival Tips for Christmas 2016

Yes, that's right- I said Christmas 2016!  I haven't lost my mind in a post-holiday haze (well, maybe) or committed a typographical error.  Instead I'm going to share a few tips which have helped me to remain organized (and sane!) from season to season and will hopefully help you too! 


For years I had a Christmas Notebook where I kept neat lists of storage boxes, Christmas cards, gift lists, etc., but sometime over the last year I lost it. (It is somewhere in a "Safe Place"!  I'll probably find it next summer!) I really missed it this year and decided to make next season easier as I begin to pack up this year's decor. This led me to create another notebook. Hopefully I can share this information and help you as well.  Here is the link where you can print out the Cover Page above.



This first page is one of many where I log in the contents of storage boxes.  Before each container is stored in the attic, I assign it a number and mark the box accordingly.  I th…

Merry Christmas from Gardenias and Glitter!

Over the past few weeks I have been seeing blogs with beautiful pictures of elaborate holiday decor.  I would like to be the type of blogger who could share such pictures with my readers.  But the reality is- I am not. 


For the past couple of years I have had red and white peppermint decor on my mantle.  I thought it was really cute and then we had an "Elf" viewing party.  If you have seen the movie you know that Buddy the Elf makes a lot of paper snowflakes and chains.  So we had to do the same.  I just don't have the heart to take down the "artwork" the "kids" made. (The kids being 10, 20, 21 and 23!)  So it stays!  This is more of my method of decor than the showstopping exhibitions that a lot of people post.  I'll share anyway. 


The photo above is of a poinsettia I got last week.  I wanted a pink and red one to match the "peppermint" color scheme you see above. When I opened the bag around the flower I saw this combination white and re…

A Perfect Christmas Brunch Cocktail

I was "auditioning" cocktails for Christmas brunch and found a recipe for an Ambrosia Cocktail on Pinterest.  Ambrosia is a classic Southern food with as many recipe variations as people who enjoy it. I first came to know Ambrosia from my Nana, my father's mother, who would make this dessert for Sunday dinners and holidays.  Since then my mother has carried on the tradition, albeit with a slightly different recipe. I occasionally make it myself, again, using my own ingredients to suit my taste and that of my family.


Our "recipe" is simple- orange slices (mandarin oranges if you are fancy), pineapple tidbits, cherries and a dash of orange juice. I like to add a dash of cherry juice as well. Nana would add sugar. My family does not go for the recipes that you will see that include marshmallows or (gasp!) sour cream!

So when I saw this cocktail recipe I knew that I just had to try it. Coincidentally, my Nana's birthday is tomorrow so I thought it would be a gre…

Bourbon Pecan Pie for Christmas

There are no two things so inherently Southern as Bourbon or Pecan Pie.  Put them together and you have an absolutely divine holiday treat that will bring tears of joy to any Southerner's (or anyone else's) eye!



I mentioned the fall edition of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade magazine  before when I made this cake.  Initially my plan was to make this Bourbon Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving, but I ran out of time. The recipe looked so good, that I had to make it as a special pre-holiday treat.

Bourbon Pecan Pie
1 cup maple syrup   1/2 cup packed light brown sugar    1/4 cup bourbon 3 eggs 1 egg yolk                                                      1 tablespoon all-purpose flour                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract                                                      2 tablespoons butter, melted                                                                       1 1/2 cups pecan halves, divided                                                                   1 frozen d…

My Favorite Things- Christmas Edition

Inspired by Oprah's "Favorite Things" article that she publishes each December (I actually remember when she first previewed them on her show!), I decided to share my "Favorite Things"- Christmas Edition 2015. My choices are a little more practical and much more affordable than Oprah's, so maybe you can find some new favorites or revisit some old faves yourself!


Starbucks Iced Peppermint Mocha- Found in the refrigerator section of your local grocer, this is my new favorite holiday beverage.  Much less expensive than a daily drive-through, but just as good! 


William-Sonoma Peppermint Hot Cocoa- My daughter bought a canister of this after her cooking class at the local store and we all love it!  Made with milk on the stovetop, it takes more time than the microwave or Keurig version, but is well worth it! 

Alex+Ani Gingerbread Man Charm Bangle- I love everything gingerbread, so when I first saw this advertised online, I knew I had to put it on my Christmas list. …

Exam Week Timeout- A Little Crafting

When I was a child I liked to play school.  I would gather my dolls and teach them all sorts of important things and then pretend to grade their tests and projects.  I would get a red pencil and put lots of checks and "X"s on "their" papers and it seemed like fun to me.  While I still love teaching, grading papers is not as enjoyable as I imagined all those years ago.  In fact, the end of the semester is exhausting.  So yesterday I escaped for a few minutes into my craft room and made a few gifts, just in time to link up to the Fantabulous Cricut Challenge, Anything but Cards



I decorated this cup for a person who loves to wear flip flops regardless of the season (just like me!) The red and green flip flops were cut from vinyl from the "Life's a Beach" Cricut cartridge.  I am going to put a gift card to her favorite coffee house inside for Christmas. 




I am making some Holiday Pretzel Snacks for treats to hand out to some people who help me out at scho…

National Cookie Day

Friday was National Cookie Day so I decided that it might just be time to get started on my holiday baking.  



I made these "Cinnamon Twist" cookies from an old recipe that came in the directions for my great aunt's cookie press that I inherited.  



I love using vintage kitchen tools and utensils. I feel a connection to those loved ones who used them before me.  Aunt Frances was one of the sweetest women that you would ever meet and I am sure that when she made cookies with this cookie press, she baked with a lot of love. 

I'm not sure if Aunt Frances made these cookies or not, but I know my mom made them when I was growing up. They have been a favorite of mine for years. 





Cinnamon Twist Cookies
1 cup butter                                                             2 1/2 cup flour3/4 cup sugar                                                           2 tspn cinnamon1 egg                                                                        1 tspn salt                   1…

Early Holiday Tablescape

We were blessed with beautiful weather this past weekend so I just had to set up Sunday's lunch outside on the deck.  I didn't have much of my Christmas decor out yet, but I gathered what I had and set up on the patio table. 




The tablecloth is actually the back of a quilt. I couldn't find anything that didn't need to be laundered or pressed, but when I saw this I knew it would work.  I don't usually use blue during the Christmas holidays, but I think it works!  





The dishes are Spode, as are the glasses.  The utensils are from Target, bought on clearance over the summer. 




For a centerpiece I used a lamp that I repainted for my July Fourth tablescape adorned with some holly I picked up when I walked the dog that morning (It was on the ground- don't worry- I did not commit an unauthorized pruning of a neighbor's holly tree!)  I think that I need to replace the white candle with a green one.




I love these little Santa salt and pepper shakers. I don't know where …